Part One: Autographs
Part Two: Zines
Part Three: Trading Cards
Today I opened up my boxes of mail art from years ago.
Around 12 years ago I traded decos with people all over the world. What are they? They are decorative booklets in which each person collages and adds artwork to one page. After the artist has decorated a page, they send it on to another friend, penpal or artist who swaps them. I swapped these for years with a large number of people, mostly through the mail. There were (are) communities online in which to find other people to swap them. Whenever you send out a booklet in the mail you take the risk that it won't ever return to you. I have received probably hundreds of these books back. Thousands of other people's books passed through my hands. I would receive big envelopes full of deco booklets and then make up big envelopes to send to other people (usually including one or two new ones that I made, but mostly those from other people.)
Years later, I am still occasionally receiving full booklets home! I'm sure many of them got lost in the shuffle, or were unable to return to me because I've moved several times since then, but I've connected with a few people from facebook who swapped them.
It is amazing to look through them and see the variety of artistic styles, the countries they passed through and the little messages people wrote as they signed in.
I really loved to attach ribbons, yarn and little doodads as I bound the booklets together.
Drawings, rubberstamping, lettering, collages.... so much to see. It is a joy to flip through the books.
I would spend probably at least $50 a month on postage to swap mail art. Crazy, I know! And that was 10 years ago. That's one of the big reasons I stopped swapping. Postage kept going up and up and my disposable income kept going down. Now it just wouldn't work in my budget.
There were some of us online who got to know each other well and enclosed personal letters each time we swapped. Most have since stopped swapping. One of my penpals from the Netherlands even managed to take a couple trips to the United States and we were able to meet up with her a couple time!
While I was swapping decos, I also organized an online group to make and trade postcards. These were really fun, because then you'd get an immediate result, rather than waiting years and years for deco booklets to possibly make their way home. I have hundreds of these too. Mostly people would send their handmade postcards (usually based on a theme) to the swap host and then that person would organize and distribute them so you would get one of each person's cards back. I started punching holes in the corner of them and then attaching them to a metal ring, so that I would have them in little books I could flip through.
I have so much more I could show you. Each of the deco booklets are filled with about 5-10 pages of mini collages and art. So much fun! Another day I will take more photos for you.
I have other collections too, besides the ones I blogged about. I used to collect stamps and regular postcards too. I'll save those for another day as well.